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Kern County Library Staff Suggests...: May Recommendations for Adults

Monday, May 3, 2010

May Recommendations for Adults


The Postmistress by Sarah Blake - Blake’s debut novel of three very different women: a reporter, a postmistress and a young bride, as the war is beginning to break over America in 1940. The story goes back and forth between small-town America and Blitz-ravaged London, weaving the tale of the impact each of these women makes, knowingly or unknowingly, on each other’s lives. Library Journal says: "Even readers who don’t think they like historical novels will love this one and talk it up to their friends."

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes - "A grand, distinctive accomplishment" is how Publisher’s Weekly describes this debut novel. Set during the Vietnam War, the story follows Marine Lieutenant Mellas and his platoon as they man the firebase called Matterhorn, fighting what seems like the entire army of North Vietnam as well as rain, leeches, racial tensions, malnutrition, Agent Orange and the frailties of the human soul.

The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England by Susan Higginbotham - Higginbotham "hits another historical high note" (Booklist) in this fictional study of the British monarchy. The Wars of the Roses provides the backdrop to this story dealing with the traditional royal backstabbing, plotting, intrigue and romance. The catch to this story is the secret marriage between King Edward IV and Katherine’s older sister. When the king dies, drama ensues! Who will get the throne and to what lengths will they go?

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee - June Han is a starving 11-year old refugee from the Korean War when she is separated from her 7-year old twin siblings and put in an orphanage. She heals slowly under the watchful care of Sylvie Tanner, another scarred soul who witnessed the murder of her parents as a child. These painful past experiences influence and effect the interactions each person has on everyone else, building a "powerful, deeply felt, compulsively readable and imbued with moral gravity" (Publishers Weekly) novel that will leave you feeling haunted.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson - 68-year old Major Pettigrew is a gentleman, proper refined who is quietly growing more and more interested in the local shop’s owner: the lovely Pakistani Mrs. Ali. His efforts to court this equally genteel lady meet obstacles at every turn, most notably his callow son Roger, and the socialite ladies at his club. Not-so-subtle racial attitudes rear their ugly heads in this "utterly charming and surprising novel" that reads like a pro – not the debut it is!

Alice I Have Been: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin - All things Alice are interesting right now. This novel, based on the "real" Alice takes readers on a retrospective journey on her life: her Victorian childhood including her special friendship with math tutor Charles Dodgson (later known as Lewis Carroll), her young adult romance with Prince Leopold and her eventual marriage to Reginald Hargreaves. Her fictional identity as the Alice who went down the rabbit hole follows her throughout her life, burdening her with whispers and suspicions about her relationship with the author who found in her his literary muse.

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell - A massacre occurs in a small hamlet in Sweden – 19 elderly villagers and their pets are hacked to death. A complex, sprawling novel follows Birgitta Roslin, a district- court judge, who tries to make sense of the slaughter and begins an investigation that leads her to Beijing and then Mozambique and then London. Confused? "The various strains of this massive plot are skillfully interconnected…a must-read for anyone interested in the international crime novel." (Booklist)


Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons of an Italian Life by Frances Mayes - Take a tour through the seasons in Tuscany and enjoy this new memoir from Mayes as she reflects on the sensuous, gastronomical, emotional and introspective moments of winter to summer. Taste the local wine, seek out the paintings of Luca Signorelli, meditate on village legends and drink in the morning sunrise through the vivid words celebrating the "lush abundance and charm of daily life in the Italian countryside." (Publishers Weekly)


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